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Prevent Chocolate Toxicity in Your Pet

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Not all chocolate is created equal.  So, this Valentine’s Day, prevent chocolate toxicity in your pet by following these helpful tips from CARES.

The emergency veterinarians at CARES in Langhorne want to warn pet owners to keep pets away from chocolate this Valentine’s Day. Dr. Suzanne Dempsey, Medical Director, urges families to know the facts about chocolate toxicity in pets and take precautions to ensure pets do not have access to this delicious but deadly treat.

“Many households will have extra chocolate on hand in February,” says Dr. Dempsey. “We frequently see dogs with chocolate toxicity through the CARES emergency service. These patients can have symptoms of excitement, tremors, seizures, abnormal heart rhythms, vomiting, diarrhea, and worse. Sometimes their heart rate skyrockets! Even the smallest amount of chocolate can do harm depending on the animal involved.”

Not all chocolate is equally toxic. In general, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to pets. A 60 lb. dog could become ill following ingestion of 8 oz. of milk chocolate, but as little as 1 oz. of bakers chocolate could have the same effect!

Danger of chocolate from most toxic to least toxic

Baking Chocolate

Cocoa Powder

Semisweet Chocolate

Dark Chocolate (10 times more poisonous than milk chocolate)

Milk Chocolate

White Chocolate (is only a concern for the fat content)

What Makes Chocolate Toxic to Dogs?

Some foods are fine for humans but are toxic for pets. Chocolate contains methylxanthines (specifically caffeine and theobromine) to which dogs have a high sensitivity. Different types of chocolate contain varying amounts of methylxanthines. In general, though, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger.

So, what do you do if you discover your dog got into chocolate?

Contact your veterinarian, the Animal Poison Control Center, or the CARES emergency service immediately if you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate.

If you want to give your pet a special treat this Valentine’s Day, consider a carrot, a piece of apple, or some pumpkin. Or, ask your veterinarian to recommend other appropriate treats for your furry love.

About the Center for Animal Referral and Emergency Services (CARES):

CARES’ state-of-the-art veterinary facility in Langhorne, PA is open 24/7 for emergency needs and specialty services by appointment. In everything we do, we strive to provide More Great Days for clients and their pets and make the CARES experience one that provides compassionate care and is informative and empathetic for owners.

Our board-certified veterinary specialists, nurses, and staff are all dedicated to caring for your pet as if it is their own.  The CARES team is a group
 of exceptional individuals, hand selected over time, with expertise in the areas of Anesthesiology, Cardiology, Clinical Pathology, Dentistry & Oral Surgery, Diagnostic Imaging, Emergency & Critical Care, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Oncology, Ophthalmology and Surgery. CARES is located at 2010 Cabot Boulevard West, Suite D., Langhorne, PA 19047. For more information, visit www.vetcares.com

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